Nearly all animals love being around grass, and many love snacking on it, too. It is a main food source for most mammals including pigs, cows and sheep, and is even a favorite among some smaller mammals who can be partially filled up for the day just from consuming a few tufts.
Encouraging grass into just any animal’s diet is tricky, however, since it can actually be quite toxic to some animals due to the pesticides and fertilizers that can make it hard to stomach and digest.
Since hedgehogs love to spend most of their time rummaging through tall grass, it seems to only make sense for them to see it as a sustainable food source, but how healthy really is it? And do hedgehogs like the taste of grass at all?
We have put together all the information you need to know about how and when hedgehogs like to consume grass, and if you should be alarmed if you notice a domesticated hog licking some grass now and again, or even munching down on a few tufts when he thinks you’re not looking.
Is It Safe For Hedgehogs To Eat Grass?
Hedgehogs are known to trudge through tall grass as a way of hiding and searching for prey, however while they have a keen sense of smell and hearing, their eyesight is very poor, and so they will lick and taste anything in front of them to try and make out what it is.
If you do find your hedgehog licking or eating the occasional piece of grass, fear not as this is extremely common, and it will not be life-threatening, just make sure your hedgehog is not having it regularly because it is not a normal part of their diet.
Hedgehogs lack the enzymes and stomach set up possessed by most other small mammals, so they struggle to digest grass properly.
Grass also contains pesticides and fertilizers if it has been maintained, which can also give a hedgehog an upset stomach.
While grass grown indoors may negate some of these issues, it still should not be seen as a regular or healthy option to feed your hog, as it will provide essentially no nutritional benefits.
Therefore, while a hog might have the occasional nibble, try to steer them away from consuming too much grass, so they can avoid being unwell.
Regular Hedgehog Diet
Because they are insectivores and eat a little bit of plant material, with bigger ones eating some meat too to gain bits of protein, grass has no real place to fit in a hedgehog’s diet where they can gain all the nutrients they need from other foods.
A domestic hedgehog alternatively should be fed a regular variety of different insects that should be well-fed and gut loaded with veggies to make sure they are nutritious as possible when delivered to your hedgehog.
The insects can even be grown and bred yourself fairly easily, as long as you don’t mind having another few small mouths to feed.
It can be easy to start a breeding colony with just a handful of breeding females, such as with crickets, and you can add more into the colony if you feel your hedgehog is eating them too quickly.
Meat and even fish can also be fed to hedgehogs on the odd occasion, along with small amounts of some fruit and veg that will supply alternate healthy benefits when served in moderation.
How To Stop Hedgehogs Eating Grass
Luckily, hedgehogs don’t really have an appetite for grass, they are unlikely to take some even if it is offered to them since they simply just don’t recognize it as food.
However, while they may not like the taste, they always end up in grass and can snack on it while on their midnight adventure if they get hungry.
If you find your hedgehog has taken a liking to the occasional piece of grass, to avoid it becoming an unhealthy habit, there are a few ways to step in.
The easiest method is to watch your hedgehog and if you find him snacking on some grass, step in and try to redirect his attention towards another area or other food, so he gets the message.
Remember, even an unsprayed yard will still leave the grass unhealthy for hedgehogs.
After they have been out in the grass, also always make sure to give the hedgehog a wipe down with a wet cloth just to be safe and ensure they haven’t picked up any mites or parasites during their late night travels.
Hedgehogs are never far from grass, and it is very normal for them to have the occasional chew on it now and again.
While it’s good to let your hog explore his natural habitat, just make sure he is not making a habit of eating the grass, rather than the creatures below!